Pre-Statutory consultation on the proposal to change Gunnersbury Catholic School to a fully coeducational (mixed gender) school
Within our mission to provide for the needs of our Catholic and wider community, Gunnersbury Catholic School is considering changing its admissions to become a coeducational school. Over the years, the educational preferences and requirements of families have changed locally and nationally. As a Catholic school seeking to best serve our community, it is essential that we respond to the requirements of today’s society.
Proposed alteration and rationale
The Governing Body of Gunnersbury Catholic School, after due consideration of the options for future admissions to the school, seeks to change our pupil admissions gender criteria from boys only to coeducational (mixed gender). It is sought for the first coeducational cohort to be our Year 7 intake of September 2025; subject to formal approval from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster, Hounslow Local Authority and the Schools’ Adjudicator. Over subsequent years, Gunnersbury will become progressively gender mixed i.e. as the initial Year 7 moves into Year 8 and so forth. Our Sixth Form is already long established as a coeducational setting.
Within Gunnersbury Catholic School’s local vicinity (namely the London Boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing) there is extensive unmet demand for Catholic coeducational secondary school places. First-choice preference applications for the local Catholic coeducational secondary schools far exceed the Pupil Admission Numbers (PANs) of these schools. In contrast, first-choice preferences for our single-sex Catholic educational provision have declined to levels considerably below PAN. Such a pattern of demand correlates with the overwhelming preference amongst today’s families, whether seeking a Catholic education or a non-Catholic education, for their children to be schooled within coeducational settings.
At Gunnersbury Catholic School we provide for our students a caring, inclusive, Catholic education – one that enables superb outcomes, on all levels, for these young people. Our Ofsted inspection of January 2023 deemed that Gunnersbury continues to be an Outstanding school in every aspect of our provision. Academically, Gunnersbury students consistently achieve to a level that is amongst the very best in the country. Our 2023 Progress 8 score of +1.11 places the progress of Gunnersbury’s GCSE students within the top 2% of schools nationally. Sixth Form outcomes (A-Levels and BTECs) are similarly strong. Adjusting Gunnersbury’s admissions policy to coeducational entry will enable both girls and boys to experience Gunnersbury’s outstanding education from Year 7 upwards. Foremost, this change in admissions will provide an appropriate and necessary response in addressing the overwhelming local parental/guardian demand for Catholic coeducational secondary provision. Furthermore, governors consider that admitting girls will offer additional opportunities and shared experiences to ensure that girls and boys are best supported to become part of, and effectively contribute to, a society that we seek to be more equitable and fair – not least in matters of gender.
Adjusting Gunnersbury Catholic School’s admissions to coeducational will:
- Further our rich diversity – a foundation of our Catholic values
- Create a school setting that better reflects the composition and desired dynamics of modern society, thereby most effectively affording pupils with experiences and learning that best prepares them to positively contribute to our world now and in the future
- Appropriately respond to the local overwhelming demand for Catholic secondary mixed-gender schooling
- Build upon our legacy of educational excellence with the future provision of high quality Catholic education for girls and boys of the local community
Procedure to achieve change in admissions process
To achieve a change to coeducational status, Gunnersbury Catholic School must embark upon the statutory process set out by the Department for Education. This pre-statutory consultation, through which the governing body is seeking the views of stakeholders, is the first element of the statutory process. Following their consultation with stakeholders, governors will then meet to decide whether or not to ask the Local Authority to consider a formal proposal to become a fully coeducational school.
Following the pre-statutory consultation, should governors decide to formally seek for a change to coeducation a Formal Consultation (called a Statutory Notice) will be initiated. Following this Formal Consultation the Local Authority will then determine whether or not to allow the requested move to coeducation.
Gunnersbury’s pre-statutory consultation on our coeducational proposal opens on Monday 20 November 2023 and closes at 10am on Monday 18 December 2023
How to obtain further information on our proposal
A ‘drop in session’, at which the school’s leadership will be available to discuss the proposal, will take place at Gunnersbury (The Ride, Brentford, TW8 9LB) on Monday 4 December 2023 from 4.30-5.30pm. All stakeholders are invited.
A virtual consultation session with the school leadership will be held via Zoom on Wednesday 6 December 2023 at 5pm. To register for this please click here.
How to share your views:
We would like to hear the views of all stakeholders (e.g. Gunnersbury pupils, current Gunnersbury parents, prospective Gunnersbury parents, Gunnersbury staff, local schools) on these proposals.
Please share your views through our pre-statutory consultation response form: consultation response form
Alternatively, your response can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
All responses must be received by 10am, Monday 18 December 2023